Reuters reported on 11/3/2006 that Internet Advertising firm Zango, Inc. agreed to pay $3 million to the U.S. government to settle allegations that it’s pop-up ad software was secretly installed on millions of unsuspecting users personal computers.
This is a huge blow to the perpetrators of a crime that has up to this point been quite difficult to prosecute. While difficult to estimate there is no doubt that the impact of adware world-wide is in the billions of dollars. This resulting from lost productivity, expenses to remove the programs and system resources. Considering all the fiscal expenses, the biggest victim is the privacy of internet users. Adware often tracks users web habits and funnels users to websites selling products or services that are related to those habits. In some cases, such as the Zango case, popups deploy on the affected users PC’s forcing them to close the windows manually and making it difficult for them to efficiently use their computer.
This is some of the best news in the fight against Adware in recent history. Hopefully the government will continue to prosecute the perpetrators of these crimes and expand their capabilities to tackle some of the tougher issues like SPAM, Viruses and Malware. For now this is a good start.